Ford planning U.S.-spec Ka city car?
Chrysler recently inked a strategic alliance with Italy's Fiat, but that tie-up could end up benefitting Ford. As a part of that deal, Chrysler will sell a version of the Fiat 500 in the United States which could ultimately open the door for Ford to sell its tiny Ka city car here.
Ford has yet to officially announce any plans to sell the Ka in the United States, but the recent alliance between Chrysler and Fiat could give the city car an in for the U.S. market. The Ka and the 500 share the same platform, which could present an interesting cost-cutting scheme for Chrysler, Fiat and Ford.
American car companies have historically made huge profits on large trucks and SUVs, but have struggled immensely when it comes to making money on small cars. A big part of the problem is that it's extremely difficult to generate enough volume with a single small car line to turn a profit in the large-car loving U.S., but a platform sharing plan program could go a long way in solving that problem.
The Fiat 500 - and any Chrysler-badged 500-based vehicles that might follow - will likely be built at Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico plant within the next 18 months, but the plant could expand shortly thereafter to produce the Ford Ka, according to The Detroit News. Since the two vehicles share the same basic architecture, it would be easy to fit the Toluca factory with tooling to produce both vehicles. In fact, the 500 and Ka currently share a factory in Poland.
The move could essentially double the platform's sales and therefore give all parties involved a better chance of actually turning a profit on a small car in America. And since the Ka and 500 are such different vehicles, there wouldn't be too much concern about cannibalizing sales.
It remains to be seen if Ford will green light a U.S. version of the Ka, but the tiny city car already has the support of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, so it remains highly possible.